The Fasting Ritual


Taken at Bannock Point, Manitoba – by Leah Schroeder

The last weekend in September, the weekend of the Full Moon, my partner and I went out to Bannock Point, a place I have talked about before in one of my posts.  It is a place of the Petroforms, a sacred site of the First Nations people.  There are stone formations, many of turtles and fish, throughout the area that have been there for possibly thousands of years. It has been a site for ceremony, teaching and healing.

We joined an Ojibway woman and another friend of hers to do the fast.  To my understanding, this ritual, although done anytime throughout the year, is often associated with the summer Sundance.  During that ceremony fasting is done for four days, with no food or water.  Our time with the fast was only for forty-eight hours.  For me this was quite enough.

The purpose of The Fast is for cleansing, healing, for clarity or direction, to pray for someone, and to connect to Creator.  It is a way to get away from all the usual distractions in our daily lives to enhance this experience.  It is about letting go.

We chose our spots to pitch our tents, apart from each other.   I was not able to speak with my partner, so every now and then we would be outside of our tent at the same time and wave.  We were at least able to ask how the other was doing, but that was the extent of our conversation.  We tied different coloured cloth to mark the four directions and the boundary for our site.  A bit of tobacco was placed in each as an offering.  We placed a border of cedar along the ground between each marker.  This entire ritual was to protect us from negative spirits while we fasted.  If we needed to step outside of our marked area, to go to the washroom or to gather when someone was drumming, we were to take a bit of tobacco with us for protection.

Once I had my site set up, I heard drumming coming from a ceremonial area, referred to as the Medicine Wheel.  I thought it might be the woman we were fasting with, who hadn’t arrived yet, so I made my way there.  There were three women sitting outside the circle, singing and drumming.  Two of the women were dressed in traditional aboriginal dresses.  There was a small fire burning in the centre of this circular ceremonial area.

When the song stopped, I asked them if they were with the person I was looking for.  They were not, so I got up to leave.  They invited me to stay, but it was getting dark so I decided it was best to return to my site. The other women we were fasting with arrived later in the evening.

The space that I chose for my site was mostly granite rock, covered sporadically with moss.  I lit a small fire on one of the rocks, with twigs and moss I found within my border. I did some smudging throughout the weekend with some sage, cedar and sweet grass.

I spent a fair bit of my time meditating and taking in the beautiful fall colours of the woods around me.  On Saturday morning, I spent a bit of time out on the rocks with the other women, praying, sharing stories, passing the peace pipe, and listening to singing and drumming.

Being that this would be the night of the Full Moon, we decided to have a bit of a ceremony in the evening.  Late in the evening, I heard the other women outside so I got up from my bed and went out to join them.   I learned about the power of the Full Moon and why fasting during that time enhanced this power.  Again we prayed, shared the pipe and heard sang and drummed.  We sang to the ancestors, whose spirits resided in the area where we were staying.  We listened to songs to grandmother moon in honour of the Full Moon, to the turtle, who is honoured in many of the petroforms, and to Sabay (Sasquatch) a spiritual creature honoured by First Nations people.

By Sunday morning, I was quite ready to be done.  All I could think about all morning was how much I was looking forward to drinking some water.   I wasn’t as concerned about food.  Surprising to me, most of the weekend I didn’t feel much hunger.  It was the lack of water, especially in the heat of the afternoon sun that really got to me.

I am still processing what this experience means to me. Some of what I experienced I will save for another post.  I was able to experience a deeper meditation.  When I used my ThetaHealing® meditation to connect to Creator, I had the experience of feeling a very loving energy fill my whole body.   I was able to spend a weekend in a sacred space, away from everything else going on in my life to just “Be”.  I am deeply grateful for this experience and for the opportunity to share this with you.

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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Practitioner and Certified ThetaHealer® www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca and Financial Advisor. “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 46 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I have been working as a Financial Advisor for the past 15 years educating people about their finances, helping them restructure and reduce debt, invest for the future and properly protect their families. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges has led me to begin practising Reiki and now ThetaHealing®. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”

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About Leah Schroeder

Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master-Instructor, and ThetaHealing® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca . “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my life this has been and currently is the place I call home. I spent 17 years working in Financial Services. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges have led me to begin practising Reiki , ThetaHealing®, and IET®. I have a desire to learn, practice, and teach other healing modalities, empowering others to help shift the consciousness of humanity. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”

6 thoughts on “The Fasting Ritual

  1. Leah, what a great article about a powerful and meaningful experience. Cleansing/fasting experiences, whether they are full fast like yours or just juice or water fast, bring so much insight. Here we are on the cusp of the Harvest moon. A time when the moon is closest to the Earth. Thank you for this timely article. This is a great weekend to prepare for this powerful full moon.

  2. Leah…thank you for sharing this wonderful experience. I could actually feel the power of the ceremony and ritual flow through your words.

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